T-minus 30 minutes until the State of the Union….who cares?
I plan to watch the State of the Union address. I’m not sure why. I will be annoyed. There will be jumping up and down and applauding and not applauding moments that will be as predictable as snow in January, but I will watch.
Maybe this time it will be different. Maybe this time the president, like every president before him for 220-some years, will stand up and say: “You know what, I have no idea what is going to work. I wish there were a magic wand that I could wave and everybody would have a great paying job, kids could attend college without accruing student loans that will take 30 years to pay off, and health care would be affordable and available to everybody.” But that won’t happen.
It will be a quick revision of everything that this president can claim as positive, a revisit to all the things he hopes to still accomplish and a little bit of wistful yearning for the stuff he really, really wishes he could finish.
Tonight, when the president is done talking, the opposing viewpoint will be offered by Rep. Paul Ryan. His job is to tell you that everything the president claimed was positive is negative, and that all those things Obama still hopes to accomplish are a complete waste of time and the exact opposite of what needs to be done.
What’s it all mean to regular people like you and me? Not much. Tomorrow morning everybody will go back to business as usual and the right and left will still disagree about the basics and each one will be as convinced that they are correct as the other.
But you have to admire the process. The State of the Union is required by our Constitution. Article II, section 3: The president “shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.”
George Washington presented the first on Jan. 8, 1790 a mere 1,089 words and no follow-up speech by the opposing party. That tradition didn’t start until 1966.
I don’t know why I’ll be watching, but I will. And tomorrow, because that’s what we do, we’ll all talk about it. Either why we watched or why we didn’t, what we thought and whether or not we believed it. I’d love to hear what you have to say. Even if you didn’t watch.